730 Deep Breaths

A 730 day journal- documenting the life of a woman with mental illness.


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Friday was a Dud

I spent two hours on Friday morning practicing my breathing when faced with an anxiety attack over my doctor’s appointment that day. I had to go alone due to everyone’s work schedules and for some reason I started to panic.

I haven’t left my house unaccompanied in months. 

But, I pushed myself through my worries and made it to my doctor’s just fine. Only to learn that the appointment they called to confirm the day before, had been cancelled 3 days prior. Wait, what?!

These things happen so I brushed it off and asked when I could reschedule.

November 20th, NOT THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR!

She is booked solid until then. Which is not something I am happy about. I am almost out of my anxiety medication and sleeping pills. I also injured my knee and was hoping to get it checked out. As well, I really wanted to get my Psych Referral so I could begin therapy.

Now I have to wait over two months. 

So, now I am looking for another doctor. One that actually has time to see me, and one that doesn’t call to confirm appointments that they cancelled days before.

I am annoyed to say the least.

In an effort to turn this post into a positive one….

I was able to locate my records as a child from the state of Michigan. It took a little digging but we found them and they will be here in 3 weeks. My anxiety was first documented when I lived up there and I need those records to prove that my anxiety has been a lifelong condition- rather than one I made up last year in hopes of getting disability.

I must say I am rather interested in seeing what they say. Especially the records and case notes from my child psychologist. I don’t remember much about my medical history as a child, so I am interested to see what they documented.

I will share any intriguing findings with you all.

Here’s to a better Saturday!

 

 

 


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Read All About It

I decided to fill you in on a few things. I don’t celebrate my accomplishments nearly enough.

I am over 60 anxiety attacks FREE from vomiting. 

This is a huge accomplishment for me. I haven’t been able to stop my nausea during anxiety in nearly 13 years.

Also, all of the exercise that I have been doing to try to stay healthy, active, and confident has really started to show results. I am starting to truly accept my body and feel prideful about my figure.

I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday to check up on my medications and finally get my Psych Referral so I can begin therapy. I need a few adjustments- a higher dosage of my sleeping medicine so I can better tackle my insomnia and possibly an MRI for the constant headaches I am always getting.

These aren’t connected to my anxiety. My headaches started about 3 years ago and only occur in the lower back portion of my neck when I laugh to hard or talk too much. Basically, when I am winded. Does anybody else have a similar problem? If so any light you can shed on the situation would be great.

I have never suffered from headaches before so I am a bit baffled by the sudden and continuous migraines.

I have also begun building my case for SSDI. This is something that I have fought almost 3 years to avoid. It almost depresses me. I love to work and I truly loved my previous job, but I am unable to beat this right now and after years of no income I am truly suffering. People tend to assume this is me giving up. When in fact it is the exact opposite. I need this. And once I get better, I will certainly return to work. For the time being, however, I need help. I can’t pay for my medical expenses or living expenses and the financial instability is only worsening my anxiety and stress levels.

I need to remind myself that I deserve SSDI. This way I can stop beating myself up about it.

However, the battle that is about to ensue between myself and the federal government will surely not be an easy one. I have to prove that I have anxiety and am not mooching off the government like those who are.

Yippee!!!

 

 

 


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Dear Past Self,

I am you. 

I am writing to you in hopes of preparing you for what is about to come. It will be a difficult thing to face. One that will require strength and serenity. One that will forever change how you think, feel, and live your life. I am not wiser, not braver, and certainly not stronger than you.  We are one in the same. The only thing that separates us is a simple understanding.

Rather than warn you in great detail of what is about to occur, I would rather save you the bouts of pre-worry and just offer some simple guidelines instead.

Stay positive. Look at you. You are smart, empathetic, well-mannered, and adaptable. You can beat this. The moment you choose to think negatively is the moment you will succumb to the very thing out to destroy you. You cannot fake positivity, so make sure you truly believe in yourself. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and lose those that bring you down. This will be a hard task to face. You must weed the negative out of your life. Prepare to make some hard decisions. They will benefit you greatly.

Forget about him. Trust me. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care. I don’t mean to upset you, but that is the truth. You can choose to let him go now and face a few weeks of heart-break, or hang on to him for three years and lose yourself for an insurmountable amount of time. Don’t allow him the opportunity to destroy your self-esteem. You will quickly learn that he was sooo very wrong about you. The day he cheats on you will not turn into a moment of clarity in which he realizes the repercussions of his actions. Rather this will fuel more adultery. Don’t give him a chance to change. He won’t. Period. Have the balls to stick up for yourself. Don’t ever let him touch you, and when he does you beat the bloody shit out of him and then you send him to jail. And while the police are arresting him, go ahead and laugh with them over the fact that you (a girl) whooped his sorry ass. This will give you the strength to feel anger over the situation, rather than pain. The biggest thing you need to remember is that this, all of this shit, is not your fault. You cared. He did not. It isn’t because you were too ugly, or not good enough in bed, or too jealous, or too weak. It was him. It always has been and always will be. At the same time, never feel bad for him. Allowing him this right will make you reopen your heart to someone who never deserved access to it in the first place.

Remember Kelly. One thing you must learn, is that you come first. This may seem selfish but it will empower you through life. It is okay to take care of people, but you need to remember that it is not your calling in life. Although you withhold the compassion and empathy to comfort and love others, you do not withhold the ability to distance yourself from other’s problems and ensure that they do not become your own. Don’t interpret this as a weakness. It is surely not. One day you will bask in the ability to love so deeply. And someone very special will fall in love with you for it.

Relax. Seriously, you need it. We both know you have been dying to become a yoga pro for years now. Go do it. Learn how to breathe, how to let go, how to be one with yourself. These techniques will help you face what is about to become. Light candles, go for a walk, journal, sing, dance- just please be happy. Don’t blankly sit on your bed mulling over what coulda, shoulda, woulda been.

Be Good Enough. This is likely a confusing request, but you really must stop trying  to be perfect. It will set you up with unrealistic expectations as to how your life and others’ lives should run. I can tell you first hand this will not better your life, it will suffocate it. You are a great student, a good employee, an amazing friend, and a compassionate partner. Relish in your accomplishments and stop trying to constantly out-do yourself.

Find your voice. I know you think you have already done this. You stand up for those that are bullied in school, you stand firmly behind your morals, and you speak your mind to those who try to attack you.  But, at some point in your life, if you don’t prepare yourself now, you will lose that ability. Your condition is not a secret. You are not an embarrassment. Say what you think and mean it. Be confident in how you feel and your ability to protect yourself. If you submit to those that are aggressive, you will only further your strife and encourage their malice.

Never try to fit the mold. You always said that you would never drink and that you would never wear make-up and that you would never fear leaving the house not looking your best. Do just that. Don’t let those girls convince you that you look more presentable with black eyeliner and rosy red cheeks. That crap will give you nothing but pimples and a complex. Don’t take that glass on your 17th birthday, it will only equate to a series of bad events (and the fun will only last for a month before you decide drinking was a wretched mistake in the first place). Never let any boy convince you that a t-shirt and jeans makes you look like you don’t care. Those heels and that push-up bra make you look like you care far too much, and that is a far worse trait. Embrace every single freckle. Love the fact that you can style your eyes with glasses. Cherish your pale skin because it will forever be soft and sun damage free. And when that punk approaches you in 5th grade and tells you that your crows feet and laugh lines make you look like a grandma- you punch him dead in the balls and then gracefully fix your hair and inform him that grandma just beat his ass.

But, the thing you need to stand by the most is something that only you can give to yourself: Confidence. 

Love Yourself.

Don’t chase after boys. Don’t celebrate when you lose 2 pounds. Don’t let anyone matter so much to you that you stop mattering to yourself. You are your best friend, your partner in crime, and your very own bodyguard. You are all you need. People will try to convince you otherwise, but don’t fall victim to their words.

Be a Mother-fucking bad ass. 

And the last thing I can leave you with is just this- Look up to Maya Angelou- she knows what she is talking about.

‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.’ – ‘We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.’ – ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ -Maya Angelou

Love, 

Your Future Self


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The Expectation of Perfect Control

In my world nothing is perfect. Yet, I live the life of a perfectionist. 

My mind is in shambles, my emotions awry, my stability is lacking, and my income is a big fat pile of diddly-squat.

In school I turned in assignments early, I always got straight A’s, and I was a favorite amongst all of my teachers.

At work I was under constant praise, picking up extra shifts that no one else wanted, and taking the time to go above and beyond.

I excelled at everything I did- music, art, acting, dance, track, volleyball, academics.

I won Spelling Bees.

I had manners.

I was [am] drug-free, alcohol free, baby mama drama free, STD free, and I hold no criminal history or bad driving record.

And all of that, is downright exhausting. 

I have had to be perfect my entire life, sacrificing true development as an individual for fake gold plaques and a few photos in the newspaper.

In adulthood this has messed with my relationships- always expecting perfection from partner’s leads to nothing but bickering.

And that is exactly where I am. 

I have this habit of vocalizing how I feel. Not because I am trying to be cruel or torture someone with the disappointment I feel towards them, but rather because in past relationships I chose to stay quiet and I became a weak human because of it.

The problem I have is when I try to explain why my boyfriend’s drastic allergy to affection is haunting my thoughts, it comes out as more of a collection of things he sucks at.

And I am sure always being reminded of your mistakes and flaws will make the most simple man bitter.

I have decided to approach this new-found intelligence with one burning question.

How will this benefit my life?

Meaning before I remind him rudely that he hasn’t kissed me in 18 hours, I must first ask myself that question.

How will this benefit my life? It won’t. It will sound more like an attack of character. Why must I always stir up trouble?

Rather- I need to take a step back and calmly explain that I need more from him.

And before I spend 4 hours planning perfectly symmetrical rows of vegetables in my garden, ask How will this benefit my life? It won’t I will have wasted four hours of my life on something that won’t affect my vegetable production.

I constantly pressured myself into being the best at everything I did, and during those moments I forgot to just enjoy it.

I suffer from:

  • The constant need to be right. 
  • The constant need to be accepted. 
  • The constant need to point out anything imperfect. 
  • The constant need to be the best at everything. 
  • The constant need to be perfect. 

My newest battle is to recover from perfectionism. To accept my flaws, the things I cannot control. and to let go of all that worries me.

Perfection is an impossibility. 

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A Belated Update

So, lately I have really been suffering from my insomnia. I adjusted pretty well during the past week when my boyfriend had left town to visit family. Sleep came fairly easy.

Now that he is back, I have to adjust to him being in the bed. Until then- I am playing a risque game of cat and mouse with my sleep.

I should have enlightened you to this days ago, but I must admit that I was hoping to get past it within the past few days and present you with a truly positive post.

But days have gone by, and I still roam my house all night long.

I don’t think that 9.5 hours of sleep in four days is the healthiest. 

(I resisted the urge very much to put “#YOLO” at the end of that last sentence. I chose against it, to avoid jumping on the pop culture bandwagon. But- by telling you that- I was able to write it anyway and get away with it. Mwahhaahahhaaaaaaaaaaaa!)

Moving On—-

When I lose sleep I tend to get very anxious. This has a lot to do with the fact that I usually jolt awake in panic after only one hour of rest. But when that happens I correlate losing sleep with anxiety attacks and I begin avoiding going to bed. Let the Cycle begin…

The pressure that this adds to the simple task of sleeping- is exhausting. Yes, so exhausting that I sit here with my eyes half open and bags so big under my eyes that a horde of Stepford  Wives couldn’t even shop enough to fill them.

Now, since I am on day 5 of next to no sleep, I am beginning to get so tired that I’m hoping at some point I will just pass out. I don’t know how many 3am walks or yoga sessions I can take anymore.

The 867 sleeping pills I have downed in the past 24 hours aren’t even strong enough to outweigh my own thought keeping me awake. I swear if I was this strong physically and emotionally (in a positive setting) as I am mentally- my life would be so much easier.

I am attempting to stay positive about this. I haven’t seen a sunset in ages, but I have recently witnessed 5 in a row. I get to say goodbye to my little brother as he treks off to the bus. I have also been given the opportunity to learn that absolutely nothing is on TV before the hours of 10am. That is invaluable knowledge, dammit.

Who needs sleep with all those perks?!

I have also learned a valuable lesson: To be upfront with you all about what is happening, rather than waiting for things to turn out well so we can celebrate together.

Never again. Promise!

 

 


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A Kind Thank You

I cannot believe the amount of followers I have obtained in the last 5 days of writing this blog. Honestly, I am a bit shocked.

I keep finding myself re-reading my posts trying to figure out if maybe I am filling my writing with uncanny wit that leaves you all mesmerized. But then I actually get over myself.

In fact, in the essence of improving my life and my attitude- I will resist the urge to belittle my skills as a writer, and bully myself into victimization.

I can take one very positive guess, and say that the very thing that is drawing people to this blog is its relatability.

I have spent all (practically) 23 years of my life seeking someone to befriend that has my same struggle. I always yearned for that bond you experience over hardships. Yet, I have never come across a single person that suffers an equal suffering.

Recently, I have almost decided that this was best. I could see myself absorbing my way into another anxious person’s life and feeding off each others’ worry and fear. It is probably best that I don’t, but at the same time I still want that friend that just gets it.

But- nonetheless- thank you for following, thank you for caring, and thank you for reading. It brings me great happiness to see that follower tally increase every day.

Please feel free to comment on anything- I always respond.

I have made new friends in all of you. And I can never repay you for standing by me in this pivotal moment in my life.


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Picture Post

I have decided to leave any images of my family, boyfriend, or friends out of this blog. I have chosen to revoke my right to privacy, they have not. So, I will not tie them to a blog that could negatively affect their lives.

However, I have posted some photos below of myself, my cats, my life- to help us connect a little more. I know as a follower of many blogs, I always love the posts that let me dive a little deeper into who a person is. So why deny you the same right?

The Voice Behind This Blog 

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My Artwork- Remake

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Home Sweet Home

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My Photography

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My Cats- Nash and Kobe

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A Must-Have Book for the Anxious

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The Gorgeous View from my Front Yard

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Hope you enjoyed the random array of photos. Feel free to share some of your as well!!

By the way, moment of clarity happening RIGHT NOW! I have had this obsession with having exactly four related articles for every post. I am way too controlling over things that don’t matter. So screw this unrealistic need to have four perfect posts! I am going to leave three, and resist all urges to correct the problem.


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Hypocrisy and Me

I am a firm believer that everyone on Earth is ‘fake.’ Now when I say this, don’t imagine some trashy teenager in a club screaming FAKE at every other woman who passes her by. Think of the actual word, and what it meant back before media nonsense popularized the word as an overused insult.

We all have true self and a self we present to the world.

Politeness, n: The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Ever nod your head and agree to do the dishes, even though you want to walk up to your mother and smack her dead in the face? Or wait to eat-  despite your growling stomach- because not everyone is seated at the table yet?

These are all passive acts we do despite our personal needs and wants. And just like the rest of the world- I have two FOUR selfs.

  1. The Actual Me. The person that I am internally. How I think and feel without discretion. No one ever will know the real me. As humans we tend to stifle this person in order to pacify those around us, and ensure a solid reputation.
  2. The Worker Bee. This me is a beast. There is one thing in this world that I am very confident about and that is my ability to work. It is in my blood (Thanks, Dad!). This person is polite, honest, tough, serious, social- everything you need to possess in order to be great with customers and coworkers. I could understand how this could be perceived as fake, but this is someone I love to be. And, although, I have had those customers who I just want to ‘bow in the face, I truly enjoy being this person (Irony Alert: My anxiety loves to tackle the things that I am great at).
  3. The Social Butterfly. This me is fun. At times, I can be one loud chick, but my ability to become quick friends with almost anyone, allows me to prosper in the area of sociality.
  4. The Exact Opposite of who I really am. This me is reserved for specific moments rather than specific situations. This is the self that allows me to look innocent in the eyes of my parents when I am up to no good, allows me to seem normal in public when I am panicking inside, and nods hello to my neighbors every morning despite the fact that I want to call the ASPCA on the two dogs they chain up outside (in 100+ degree weather) for 8 hours at a time (with no water).

 

What does this all dwindle down to? Hypocrisy. The perceived us and the actual us.

I know myself well enough to see the hypocritical things that I do.

I am a walking hypocrite.

  • I exude confidence. I have been told this my entire life. I guess those acting classes really paid off. Yet, I am internally one of the most self-conscious people around.
  • I loathe and often lecture people who interrupt me or tune out of conversations, yet I often find my mind drifting away.
  • My bedroom is cleaned on a daily basis, but I let the dishes stack up until I no longer have any spoons.
  • I preach acceptance but I chastise the super-religious and the narrow-minded. ( I justify this by telling myself that those are two types of people who do nothing but judge- and when you judge you open the door to being judged)
  • I constantly have my life in order- plans made, goals set, household organized- but my mind is home to some of the most chaotic residents possible.
  • I consider myself a realist- not optimistic, not pessimistic. I am the type of person that relies on pure scientific fact, but I can convince myself in 2.5 seconds that I am going to die when I couldn’t be in a more secure environment.

The list goes on and on. 

The reason I am writing this? Because last night I realized that this way of living is extremely common and well-managed amongst the human species, yet it is behind some of my most self-destructive behavior.

This persona I put on for the world to view, stifles my true self. My struggling, un-well self. In turn I never truly face my demons. And when someone doesn’t face their demons, those demons manifest and they prey upon your weaknesses.

If I had been able to break my “Best Girlfriend Ever” mold at the age of 17, I would have had the strength to leave an abusive relationship the second it began. If I had let go of the embarrassment of being weak, I would have been able to reach for help. If I had allowed myself to be sick and accepted it as a true disorder, I wouldn’t have spent years bullying myself because of it.

My weaknesses were mine to make. 

My strengths were mine to prove. 

And subconsciously, my need to please and my need to be loved overshadowed my physical and mental well-being.

Realizing this- was a heavy-handed slap from reality.

I convinced others that I was worthy, and then I convinced myself I wasn’t. What I really needed was time to focus on myself, rely on loved ones for support, and just regain my mental stability.

What causes this? That, I am not sure. I thought about it for quite some time.

Embarrassment. Fear. Pride. Insecurity. Perfectionism. 

Whatever it is, it lives in all of us.

 

 

 


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Mind Maps

I read recently, in my anxiety workbook, that making mind maps helps to face your anxiety and plan how to overcome it. So I did, just that.

I created a few mind maps below. One defining who I am. One discussing my anxiety. And one to help guide me through anxiety management.

It really helped to just write it all down, and have something to remind me that this is a process. It will take time. But I can beat this!

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Who Am I?

Who Am I- (1)

View Larger Version Here

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My Anxiety

Anxiety

View Larger Version Here

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 Anxiety Management 

Anxiety Management Plan

View Larger Version Here